Senators Call For Economic Assistance For Cannabis Firms Amid Outbreak

A group of 11 Democratic lawmakers is calling for cannabis businesses to be allowed to receive economic assistance from the Small Business Administration in the midst of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent to the chairman and vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and other leadership on March 26, the senators called on “the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government to include language in … forthcoming legislation to help extend SBA loan programs to legal cannabis businesses.”

Because of marijuana’s continuing classification as a Schedule I drug, licensed cannabis companies are excluded from receiving federal assistance from the SBA. Additionally, “SBA’s current policy excludes small businesses with “direct” or “indirect” products or services that aid the use, growth, enhancement, or other development of cannabis from SBA-backed financing,” the letter reads.

“Consequently, small businesses in states with some form of legal cannabis must choose between remaining eligible for SBA loan programs, or doing business with a rapidly-growing and legal industry,” the senators added.

Noting that “there has been a clear shift in public opinion toward supporting the legalization of cannabis in the United States,” they called for legislative provisions that would allow marijuana companies access to SBA

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